Freeport boys pull away for rout of Greensburg Salem

Friday, January 13, 2023 | 10:09 PM

Freeport trailed host Greensburg Salem by a point at the end of the first quarter Friday night before the Yellowjackets erupted with back-to-back 25-point outbursts in the second and third and went on to bury the Golden Lions, 72-27, in a WPIAL Section 1-4A boys basketball game.

A running clock did little to slow the pace in a raggedly played contest that saw Freeport shoot 31 free throws but none in the first quarter, when Greensburg Salem came away with a 12-11 advantage.

“There’s still things we need to correct,” Freeport coach Sean DeVinney said. “It’s about getting better every day. I really mean that. These guys, I preach to them that sort of thing, and I really hope it’s getting through to them.”

Parker Lucas scored 15 points, and Freeport (8-5, 1-3) used a 15-0 run to start the second quarter as a springboard to its first victory in four games and first section win after the Yellowjackets previously had won six in a row.

“Happy to get off the slide,” DeVinney said. “Now, we need another one. We had it going, and then we got into section play and we sputtered. I guess you can call this a ‘get-right game,’ but we’ll see. Indiana is going to be our next test (Tuesday at home), so we’ll see if we’re ready for it.”

Gavin Croney and Gavin Glista added 12 points each, and Brady Stivenson chipped in 11 for Freeport, which grabbed momentum when Glista connected on four free throws — two on a technical foul called on Greensburg Salem coach Cam Auld — sparking the Yellowjackets’ game-deciding run.

Freeport led 36-17 at halftime.

“We were in this game,” Auld said. “We went into halftime, and I was thinking, ‘All right, if we stay out of foul trouble in the second half, we’ll be in a good spot.’ ”

It turned into the second rout in a row and third of the season against Greensburg Salem (4-9, 0-3), which came in having lost at Highland, 95-28, on Tuesday. The Golden Lions opened the year with a 51-22 loss to Class 6A Hempfield.

“It’s just about teaching these guys to be resilient,” said Auld, who is in his first season as coach at Greensburg Salem. “I tell them every day is new day. You just can’t revert back to where you’ve been. We’ve already made strides.”

Greensburg Salem, which was 3-19 overall and 0-10 while playing in Section 3-6A a year ago, dropped its fourth game in a row after a three-game winning streak.

Greensburg Salem freshman Luke Rullo left the game in the second quarter with an apparent shoulder injury and was transported to a local hospital, Auld said. But Rullo’s status was unclear.

Ryan Burkart led Greensburg Salem with seven points.

Freeport continued pouring it on in third quarter, leading 61-21 heading to the fourth before both coaches substituted freely.

It won’t get easier for Greensburg Salem, which visits section-leading Hampton on Tuesday.

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